Porsche dominated the first qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours, with Neel Jani setting a blistering pace in the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid to take provisional pole.

Jani stopped the clocks at 3m19.733 in a typically committed lap to go just under half-a-second quicker than teammate Timo Bernhard who registered a 3m20.203s in the #1 Porsche.

With Thursday's weather forecast indicating showers during the evening, Porsche lost no time in showing its qualifying pace in the Wednesday night session.

Toyota was just over a second adrift of the outright pace with the #6 TS 050 Hybrid recovering from a significant accident in practice to take third, with Stephane Sarrazin setting a 3m20.737s in the opening minutes to beat the #5 car by a second.

Audi had a session to forget, as both of its R18 cars were delayed in getting onto the track at the start of qualifying.

Things got little better as an attempted qualifying run by Benoit Treluyer in the #7 machine only brought a 3m22.670s lap, just over three seconds away from the provisional pole time of Jani.

The #8 Audi missed most of the first hour when repairs were completed after Lucas di Grassi’s moment at the first chicane in practice damaged aspects of the cars drivetrain.

Oliver Jarvis and then Loic Duval ventured out, but a 3m26.750 was initially the best it could achieve.

But when di Grassi was given new tyres, the Brazilian turned in a 3m22.466s lap to grab fifth place from the sister #7 Audi.

Matheo Tuscher, the youngest driver in the field, gave a fine account of himself as he set the best LMP1 privateer time on a 3m26.586s in the #13 Rebellion R-One-AER.

That was enough to beat the #12 car by eight tenths, with the #4 ByKolles CLM not setting a time after its practice engine fire.

G-Drive leads in LMP2

In the LMP2 division, the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca led for all bar a few minutes of qualifying, as Rene Rast stamped his authority over the field.

The factory Audi driver beat his own initial fastest time set during his first stint at the wheel. The German peaked on a best of 3m36.605s to finish 0.570s ahead of the #35 Baxi DC Signatech Alpine driven by Nelson Panciatici.

The 2014 ELMS champion however was placed under investigation for the time which was set when Giancarlo Fisichella’s Ferrari was being recovered from a gravel trap.

The other Signatech Alpine driven by Nicolas Lapierre claimed third, ahead of the Manor entry of Roberto Merhi who set a late time to secure fourth.

The best Ligiers were the Michael Shank JS P2 in fifth and the #31 ESM entry in sixth, thanks to times by Laurens Vanthoor and Pipo Derani respectively.

Ford dominates GTE Pro

Gianmaria Bruni looked to have again claimed honours in GTE Pro with the new shape Ferrari 488, as the rapid Italian set a 3m51.568s.

But in the final 20 minutes Ryan Briscoe put together a committed 3m51.497s in the #69 Ford Chip Ganassi USA car to go 0.071s up on the #51 Ferrari.

However, Briscoe’s time was itself smashed on the very last lap by Dirk Muller, who took provisional pole for the #68 Ford on a 3m51.185s.

Harry Tincknell, driving the #67 Ford GT, earned the fourth fastest time, while Olivier Pla took fifth in the #66 car that was repaired after slight damage was inflicted by Billy Johnson in practice.

The Blue Oval garnered four of the top five positions on the provisional GTE Pro class grid as the top five read Ford-Ford-Ferrari-Ford-Ford.

The rest including Porsche, Corvette and Aston Martin were well detached from the pole battle.

Rob Bell again made the GTE Am class his own personal fiefdom as the British GT ace turned in a 3m56.827s lap in the Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia to put himself 0.7s clear of the #98 Aston Martin, which was driven to the fastest time by Pedro Lamy.

The only red flag of the two-hour session came when Fisichella spun his Risi Competizione Ferrarispectacularly at the Porsche Curves after 33 minutes.

The former Grand Prix racer had to be extricated from the gravel, but was still able to place seventh in the GTE Pro class behind the #71 AF Corse Ferrari.

There were several slow zone calls, including ones for the spun Beechdean Aston Martin of Andrew Howard, the Pegasus Morgan of Remy Striebig, Pu Jun Jin’s slightly damaged Eurasia Oreca, and the #63 Corvette of Ricky Taylor, who nudged the wall at Mulsanne Corner.

Qualifying times:

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 2  Romain Dumas 
 Neel Jani 
 Marc Lieb 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 3'19.733  
2 1  Mark Webber 
 Timo Bernhard 
 Brendon Hartley 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 3'20.203 0.470
3 6  Stéphane Sarrazin 
 Kamui Kobayashi 
 Mike Conway 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 3'20.737 1.004
4 5  Anthony Davidson 
 Kazuki Nakajima 
 Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 3'21.903 2.170
5 8  Lucas di Grassi 
 Loic Duval 
 Oliver Jarvis 
Audi R18 LMP1 3'22.466 2.733
6 7  Andre Lotterer 
 Marcel Fassler 
 Benoit Tréluyer 
Audi R18 LMP1 3'22.780 3.047
7 13  Alexandre Imperatori 
 Dominik Kraihamer 
 Matheo Tuscher 
Rebellion R-One LMP1 3'26.586 6.853
8 12  Nick Heidfeld 
 Nelson Piquet Jr. 
 Nicolas Prost 
Rebellion R-One LMP1 3'27.348 7.615
9 26  Will Stevens 
 Roman Rusinov 
 René Rast 
Oreca 05 LMP2 3'36.605 16.872
10 35  Nelson Panciatici 
 Ho-Pin Tung 
 David Cheng 
Alpine A460 LMP2 3'37.175 17.442
11 36  Nicolas Lapierre 
 Gustavo Menezes 
 Stéphane Richelmi 
Alpine A460 LMP2 3'37.225 17.492
12 44  Roberto Merhi 
 Tor Graves 
 Matthew Rao 
Oreca 05 LMP2 3'38.037 18.304
13 49  Laurens Vanthoor 
 John Pew 
 Oswaldo Negri Jr 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 3'38.837 19.104
14 31  Pipo Derani 
 Ryan Dalziel 
 Chris Cumming 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 3'39.366 19.633
15 46  Mathias Beche 
 Pierre Thiriet 
 Ryo Hirakawa 
Oreca 05 LMP2 3'39.375 19.642
16 42  Nick Leventis 
 Danny Watts 
 Jonny Kane 
Gibson 015S LMP2 3'39.394 19.661
17 47  Matthew Howson 
 Richard Bradley 
 Tsugio Matsuda 
Oreca 05 LMP2 3'39.436 19.703
18 23  Paul-Loup Chatin 
 Fabien Barthez 
 Timothé Buret 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 3'39.470 19.737
19 33  Tristan Gommendy 
 Pu Junjin 
 Nick de Bruijn 
Oreca 05 LMP2 3'40.631 20.898
20 38  Giedo van der Garde 
 Simon Dolan 
 Jake Dennis 
Gibson 015S LMP2 3'40.685 20.952
21 43  Bruno Senna 
 Ricardo Gonzalez 
 Filipe Albuquerque 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 3'40.899 21.166
22 27  Maurizio Mediani 
 Nicolas Minassian 
 Mikhail Aleshin 
BR01 LMP2 3'41.132 21.399
23 30  Scott Sharp 
 Ed Brown 
 Johannes van Overbeek 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 3'41.406 21.673
24 28  Leo Roussel 
 Inès Taittinger 
 Remy Striebig 
Morgan LMP2 3'42.049 22.316
25 37  Vitaly Petrov 
 Viktor Shaytar 
 Kirill Ladygin 
BR01 LMP2 3'42.147 22.414
26 48  Jeroen Bleekemolen 
 Ben Keating 
 Marc Goossens 
Oreca 03R LMP2 3'43.508 23.775
27 34  Shinji Nakano 
 Nicolas Leutwiler 
 James Winslow 
Oreca 03R LMP2 3'43.590 23.857
28 40  Tracy Krohn 
 Nic Jonsson 
 Joao Barbosa 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 3'45.213 25.480
29 22  Erik Maris 
 Vincent Capillaire 
 Jonathan Coleman 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 3'48.585 28.852
30 68  Sébastien Bourdais 
 Joey Hand 
 Dirk Müller 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'51.185 31.452
31 69  Ryan Briscoe 
 Scott Dixon 
 Richard Westbrook 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'51.497 31.764
32 51  Gianmaria Bruni 
 James Calado 
 Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 3'51.568 31.835
33 67  Harry Tincknell 
 Andy Priaulx 
 Marino Franchitti 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'51.590 31.857
34 66  Stefan Mücke 
 Olivier Pla 
 Billy Johnson 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'52.038 32.305
35 71  Sam Bird 
 Davide Rigon 
 Andrea Bertolini 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 3'52.508 32.775
36 82  Giancarlo Fisichella 
 Toni Vilander 
 Matteo Malucelli 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 3'53.176 33.443
37 92  Frédéric Makowiecki 
 Earl Bamber 
 Jörg Bergmeister 
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE PRO 3'54.918 35.185
38 95  Marco Sorensen 
 Nicki Thiim 
 Darren Turner 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 3'55.261 35.528
39 91  Nick Tandy 
 Patrick Pilet 
 Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE PRO 3'55.332 35.599
40 97  Fernando Rees 
 Richie Stanaway 
 Jonathan Adam 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 3'55.380 35.647
41 77  Richard Lietz 
 Michael Christensen 
 Philipp Eng 
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE PRO 3'55.426 35.693
42 64  Oliver Gavin 
 Tommy Milner 
 Jordan Taylor 
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 3'55.848 36.115
43 61  Rob Bell 
 Mok Weng Sun 
 Keita Sawa 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE AM 3'56.827 37.094
44 98  Pedro Lamy 
 Paul Dalla Lana 
 Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE AM 3'57.198 37.465
45 55  Duncan Cameron 
 Matt Griffin 
 Aaron Scott 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE AM 3'57.596 37.863
46 83  François Perrodo 
 Emmanuel Collard 
 Rui Aguas 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE AM 3'57.742 38.009
47 63  Jan Magnussen 
 Antonio Garcia 
 Ricky Taylor 
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 3'57.967 38.234
48 50  Pierre Ragues 
 Yutaka Yamagishi 
 Jean-Philippe Belloc 
Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE AM 3'58.018 38.285
49 60  Christina Nielsen 
 Johnny Laursen 
 Mikkel Mac 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE AM 3'58.760 39.027
50 78  Christian Ried 
 Wolf Henzler 
 Joel Camathias 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'59.245 39.512
51 88  David Heinemeier Hansson
 Patrick Long 
 Khaled Al Qubaisi 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'59.861 40.128
52 62  William Sweedler 
 Townsend Bell 
 Jeff Segal 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE AM 4'00.008 40.275
53 86  Michael Wainwright 
 Adam Carroll 
 Ben Barker 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 4'01.046 41.313
54 89  Marc Miller 
 Cooper MacNeil 
 Lehman Keen 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 4'01.215 41.482
55 57  Mark Patterson 
 Johnny O'Connell 
 Oliver Bryant 
Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE AM 4'02.326 42.593
56 99  Gary Hirsch 
 Liam Griffin 
 Andrew Howard 
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE AM 4'03.148 43.415
Source: Motorsport.com

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